MMO Watch: Ashes of Creation

After the tragic cancellation of EverQuest Next I felt distraught about the future of MMORPGs. Most upcoming MMOs do little to expand the genre, with the vast majority taking the safe route by following Warcraft’s example. EverQuest Next was promising in this regard, featuring destructible environments, emergent AI, and a world shaped by your actions. No two servers would be alike, creating a truly unique experience. But Daybreak didn’t see the value in the project, choosing to crush our dreams instead. The future seemed uncertain, that is until I discovered Ashes of Creation.

I happened upon AoC by chance when browsing Youtube. I started to dig deeper, becoming more infatuated as I did. I was immediately captivated by the game’s stunning visuals and beautiful environments, all designed using the Unreal Engine 4. Not only are the environments detailed, but they feature seasonal changes as well. The seasons will change weekly in game, taking about a month to cycle through them all.

Pre-alpha image of gameplay.

But what really impressed me was how adaptive the environment is. Like EverQuest Next, AoC’s environment is shaped by the consequences of your actions. Harvesting resources, killing monsters, and expanding towns will forever change the landscape. The best part is these changes can entice creatures and nature alike to rebel, attacking you and the local civilizations.

While I’m on the topic, Ashes of Creation also features a unique node system for towns and cities. In a nutshell, as you complete quests and slay monsters the node in your zone will receive XP, eventually leveling up. The higher the level, the more advanced the node becomes. It will start as a camp but will eventually progress into a full blown metropolis. However you must remain vigilant, as only a few nodes can advance at a given time. Other guilds and cities will attack your home, trying to reduce it to rubble.

Example of a node developed into a town.

Siege warfare is perhaps the biggest representation of PVP in AoC. Players will be able to use siege weapons to attack cities, while the defending forces will rally to dismantle them. While no number has been given, it is safe to assume such a zone event can consist of over 100 players. Of course there will still be instanced battlegrounds and arenas, as well as other open world events that encourage PVP. In Aoc, PVE is the catalyst for growth and development, while PVP is the force of change and destruction.

One interesting side note is that there will be a bounty system, where people can target “corrupt” players for a reward. Corrupt players are targetable by everyone, and are labeled such for camping or attacking unflagged opponents. If you are killed while corrupted you have a chance of dropping some of your gear, a concept not seen since Diablo.

Concept art for siege warfare.

The game is currently planned to feature eight races, with a possible as a Kickstarter goal. There are no actual factions in place, instead the game will focus on zone warfare and guilds. This is a nice change up from traditional MMOs and I can’t wait to see how it plays out.

Combat Example via Alpha Beta Gamer.

There will be raids and dungeons as well. World bosses will also be present, often appearing after nodes have reached a certain level. Enemies feature an adaptive AI, so combat will constantly evolve. This helps prevent combat from feeling stale and brings a level of depth to the world.

The game will have no box cost, requiring a $15 a month subscription fee to play. However, the studio is implementing a referral program as well. Under this program, if you refer a friend to the game you get refunded 15% of his/her subscription fee. This credit can be put toward your own subscription or purchasing mounts and pets.

Honestly there is a lot more information I could explain but it’s best to check it out for yourself. But what I can say in confidence is that AoC is the game I have been waiting for, the game that can progress the MMORPG genre forward. I plan to follow its development closely and eagerly awaits its launch. I encourage you all to visits the website, and if you like what you see please contribute to its Kickstarter.



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